Budget Busters! Game

Target Age Group: Grades 3-6 (with a little coaching, this game should be fine for younger kids too)

Game Summary:

Budget Busters! is a game about budgeting and choice-making that reinforces concepts and vocabulary from the grades 1-4 Economis curriculum lessons.

The object of the game is to complete the journey through the game board and have the most money at the end of the game. Each player will take a turn rolling the one die. They will advance their token/button along the game board. There are different kinds of spaces on the game board (Quiz Card spaces, Budget Buster spaces, Pay Day spaces, and Rental Property spaces). Players will follow the rules of each space (see blow) when they land on their squares. While winning the game is determined in part by luck, players who are able to answer the Quiz Cards correctly will do especially well.

Game Materials Preparation:

1. Assemble the Game Board. Use the Game Board Diagram to print out the four sheets of paper, then assemble them together to make the game board.  You’ll notice that on the 2 sides of the each of the 4 pages are numbers.  You will match the side of the sheet that has a “1” on it to the side of the other sheet that has a “1” on it.  You will match the side of the sheet that has a “2” on it to the side of the other sheet that has a “2” on it.  And so on.

2. Print out Budget Busters! Cash

3. Print out the Budget Busters! Property Cards

4. Print out the Budget Busters! Quiz Cards. On the handout, cut out the cards so that each card has both a question square and a square that says “Quiz Cards”.  You will fold each card in half and tape it so that the card has the question on one side and “Quiz Cards” on the other.

5.  4. Print out the Budget Buster! Buster Cards On the handout, cut out the cards so that each card has both the square describing the Budget Buster scenario and a square that says “Budget Buster”.  You will fold each card in half and tape it so that the card has the Budget Buster scenario is on one side and “Budget Buster” on the other.

6. Print Out the Cut Your Costs Sheets. NOTE: you will need a large stack of these.  Or instead you could use pieces of scrap paper.

7. You will need a single piece of dice and buttons, plastic tokens, or small circular pieces of cardboard in blue, red, yellow, and green. There are four players per game board and each one will be selecting one of those colors as their game piece. (Although not ideal, the game can be played with three players.  You cannot play with less than three players)  (IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to make more than one copy of the game board and supplies in order to have more than 4 students play the game at any one time.)

Game Directions and Rules:

1. Prepare to play:

a. Each player begins the game with $500 cash.
b. Each player should have about 6 “Cut Your Costs” sheets. They need to place these sheets underneath their chairs.
c. Each player should take a turn rolling the die. They should keep track of each one’s rolled number. The player with the highest number will go first; the player with the second highest number will go second, etc.
d.  Select one player as the banker.
e.  *Keep in mind that both hands must be on the table throughout the game.

2. Choose Game Colors Based on Property Selections:

The first player (the one who rolled the highest number) will get to choose his/her game color first. The game color will be based on the player’s choice of which property to purchase (blue, red, yellow, or green). The properties have different values – some are less expensive and require payment of lower taxes, but also earn less income for their rental. There are more chances for other players to land on the less expensive properties, but, again, the rental income is greater on the more expensive properties. Players will want to think all that through when making their decisions about which color to select – of course, player #4 will be “stuck” with whichever property is left over after the other 3 players make their choices. The first player will choose his/her color, then player #2 will select his/hers, etc. Players will then pay the appropriate purchase price of their property to the bank. (NOTE: Even though there are several property squares on the board, the purchase price for the property, as listed on the Property Cards, is the total amount to pay. So, for the Red property, the purchase price is a total of $150, not $150 for each of the Red property squares on the Game Board.) After paying the bank, players should put their appropriate Property Card in front of them. They should also look at the Game Board to notice where “their” properties are located. They will want to be aware of this because they have to charge rent when a competing player lands on their property square.  (Note: If you have 3 players, you will leave one colored property card and its accompanying token out of the game.  You cannot play with less than 3 players.)

3. Start Play:

Player #1 will roll the die and advance that number of spaces on the game board. Several scenarios are now possible:

  • If a player lands on a QUIZ CARD SQUARE, the player to his/her LEFT will select a card from the stack of Quiz Cards. That person will read the player the question on the card. The player must answer the question. He/she will earn or lose the amount of the money noted on the card depending on whether or not he/she gets the answer correct. The correct answer should be read aloud so that all players benefit from learning that card. If the player answers correctly, he/she should collect the money from the bank. If he/she answers incorrectly, he/she should pay the money to the bank.  Place the used card under the bottom of the stack.
  • If a player lands on a BUDGET BUSTER SQUARE, he/she will want to reach quickly for a Cost Cutting Sheet under his/her chair. (You might use scrap paper instead.)  However, the other players will also be watching and will also be scrambling to get their Cost Cutting Sheet from under their chairs. The player whose turn it is is trying to grab her Sheet and rip it in half BEFORE any one of the other 3 players is successful in grabbing their sheets and ripping them. If the player whose turn it is successfully rips her Cost Cutting Sheet first, then she avoids having to be penalized by the Budget Buster! Buster Card. In addition, she gets to penalize another player by making him/her pay the Buster amount.  However, if any one of the other players is able to get to their Cost Cutting Sheet first and rip it, then the player whose turn it must select a card from the stack of Budget Buster cards. He/she should read aloud the card and then must pay the amount noted on the card. Players need to pay attention to the instructions on the Budget Buster cards.  In some instances, the payment will go to the bank. In other cases, the payment may be placed in the Tax Revenue circle on the Game Board.
  • If a player lands on or passes a PAY DAY SQUARE, they should collect $100 from the bank.
  • If a player lands on a PROPERTY SQUARE, he/she will pay the appropriate rent to the owner of that property. (If a player lands on her own property, she does not have to pay the rent.)
  • If a player lands on a TAXES DUE SQUARE, he/she must pay the amount indicated on their Property Card to the Tax Revenue circle on the Game Board.
  • If a player rolls a “1” he/she will get to collect any money that may be sitting in the Tax Revenue circle on the Game Board.

4. Continue Play:

  • Now the next player will take his turn, following the rules just outlined. Note that you will want to explain to all the players that it is important for them all to pay attention EVERY turn, even when it isn’t their turn, because of the “race” to grab and rip the Cost Cutting Sheet in the event of a player landing on a Budget Buster! Square.
  • If a player is unable to make a required payment (whether that be a payment to the bank because of incorrectly answering a Quiz Card; a payment required by landing on a Budget Buster square and not having been first to rip up the Cost Cutting Sheet; a rent payment to a property owner; or a payment into the Tax Revenue), then he can try to avoid bankruptcy by allowing the bank to “foreclose” on his property. In this situation, the player will return his property card to the bank and receive from the bank the “Foreclosure” amount noted on the card.
  1. End of the Game:
  • The game ends when all players cross the Finish Line.  At that time, they should each count up their money.  The player with the most money wins.